About Natasha Deen

Quietly biding my time until the day I learn how to hone being a klutz into a super power, I combat writer’s block by singing opera to the cats & dogs. Follow me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/natasha.deen.9) & Twitter (https://twitter.com/natasha_deen)

Call for Submissions – Short Prose Competition


21st Annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers

$2,500 PRIZE

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that submissions are being accepted until March 1, 2014 for the 21st Annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of up to 2,500 words in the English language, fiction or non-fiction, written by an unpublished author.


$2,500 for the winning entry, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian magazines.


Writers Mark AbleyRanj Dhaliwal, and Erin Dunham will serve as the jury.


This competition is open to all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who have not had a book published in any genre and who do not currently have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or non-fiction is eligible.


  • Entries should be typed, double-spaced, in a clear twelve-point font, and the pages numbered on 8.5 x 11 paper, not stapled.
  • Submissions will be accepted in hardcopy only.
  • Include a separate cover letter with title of story, full name, address, phone number, email address, word count, and number of pages of entry.
  • Please type the name of entrant and the title of entry on each numbered page. This is not a blind competition.
  • Make cheque or money order payable to The Writers’ Union of Canada. Multiple entries can be submitted together and fees can be added and paid with one cheque or money order, $29 per entry.
  • Entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2014 to be eligible.
  • Mail entries to: SPC Competition, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5C 1P1.

Results will be posted at www.writersunion.ca in May 2014. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Welcome to the 2014 WiRs: Margaret McPherson & Jason Lee Norman!

A GIGANTIC welcome to the 2014 Writers in Residence, Margaret McPherson & Jason Lee Norman!!

Check out the deets on your WiRs! (courtesy of the Metro Library Federation) and remember to join us on DECEMBER 10, 2013 AT THE STANLEY MILNER LIBRARY AT 7:00 PM TO WELCOME THEM IN!

Photograph by: Greg Southam , Edmonton Journal

Photograph by: Greg Southam , Edmonton Journal

Jason Lee Norman will be stationed at the Edmonton Public Library for the full year. He has an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Manchester, and is the driving force, as editor and publisher, behind 40 Below, an anthology of 70 pieces by 50 Edmonton and area writers, just released by Wufniks Press.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Edmonton Public Library as Writer in Residence for 2014,” said Norman. “All of my endeavours as a writer in this city have been to celebrate great writing and foster a stronger sense of community in our arts scene. I aim to continue that focus in 2014 and help people become the very best writers they can be.”

maggie2011x200As the regional Writer in Residence, Margaret Macpherson will split her time between Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan and St. Albert, with multiple-month stints in each community. Macpherson has an MFA from the University of British Columbia, and extensive experience as a lecturer and community facilitator. She also has a passion for libraries and is a strong advocate for lifelong learning and the arts.

“I love the idea of connecting people in the literary world with each other,” said Macpherson. “Creating writing prompts, putting people in touch with the right press, the best publisher, the most supportive group for their particular genre is all about creating community among and between fellow writers. It’s thrilling to have that opportunity.”

While in residence, each writer will devote roughly half their time to mentoring other writers and the other half to working on personal writing projects. Local writers can take advantage of numerous programs and workshops, but also the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with the writers. Over his term, Norman plans to work on a novel featuring the bridges of Edmonton, while Macpherson wants to pursue a work of creative non-fiction titled Not the Caribou Queen, based on her childhood experiences growing up in Canada’s North.

“We’re so pleased to be continuing this program with the other area libraries, working together to enhance programs and events,” said Linda Cook, EPL Chief Executive Officer. “Both authors selected are excellent choices. We have been fortunate to have many great writers take up residence at EPL, and Jason Lee Norman will certainly add to that list.”


The Importance of Writers in Residence

I can still remember my first visit to the WiR, how nervous I was (okay, terrified) and how they made me feel comfortable and more than that, capable to take on the task of writing and publishing.  So, to that WiR and the ones coming in 2014, I’d like to talk about the WiR program and why I think it’s an amazing service offered to writers.

First off, it’s a FREE program offered by the libraries of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Strathcona County.

The authors on board are professional and established, and have been in the industry for a while. They may not have all the answers you seek, but they’ll have a starting point for you and their information will be up to date.

The WiRs will offer programs that have relevance to you as a writer. They can help you avoid pitfalls and give you information you need to ignite your writing.

They will read excerpts of your work and give you suggestions and pointers to tighten your story.

As writers, we can be nervous about sharing our work or asking questions, we worry the pages aren’t good enough–that we’re not good enough–remember, though, the WiRs job is to listen and offer input…I guess what I’m saying is don’t let your nerves prevent you from using an amazing resource and doing everything you can to be the best writer you can be.

The residency will go on holiday break on December 15, 2013 then roll out again in January. Stay tuned to this blog and your community library for more information.

Past Writers in Residence include: (from www.epl.ca)

Linda Goyette – 2007 Writer in Residence

Linda Goyette is a passionate collector of Alberta’s stories. As Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library, she worked on an anthology of immigrants’ writing called The Story That Brought Me Here. While editing the book, she also compiled the Other Languages collection of the EPL.

Candas Jane Dorsey – 1990 Writer in Residence

(When asked about her favourite library experience): “When I was a kid it was a privilege to go into the adult library. I remember sitting in the gallery floor of the old downtown library watching through the majestic rounded windows as a storm swept down the river valley. I remember the teen section in the Strathcona library where I checked out the novel Ride Out the Storm to get me through a year of withstanding peer bullying. I remember sitting on the big rocks outside waiting for my family to finish checking out their big stacks of books. I remember the Idylwylde library when it was brand new. I would have to get my folks to check my books out on their adult card as kids were only allowed to take out three books at a time (must have been a baby boom thing, too few books to go around). After we had our books we’d go across the street to the Dominion store and buy fresh hot bread, then go home and eat hot bread with butter melting into it and read our new books–a Saturday tradition.”

Martin Godfrey – 1989 Writer in Residence

The Library’s writer-in-residence program featuring Martyn Godfrey from June 13 to December 5 was popular. Mr. Godfrey gave 109 manuscript consultations and critiqued 63 manuscripts to help aspiring writers achieve their goals as published writers, resulting in several new writers having their manuscripts scouted for publishers. He also gave readings and writing workshops attended by 506 people.

For more about previous Writers in Residence, head here.

New Play from Concrete Theatre!


I Am For You

….thrusts you into the world of teen girls, violence and conflict resolution, through the engaging lens of stage combat.

PERFORMANCES AT C103 (formerly Catalyst Theatre) 8529 Gateway Boulevard Friday November 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm & 7:30 pm

Saturday November 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm (Pay-What-You-Can) and 7:30 pm Sneak Peek Video at: http://www.concretetheatre.ca/IamForYou2014.html

Advance tickets at TIX on the Square www.tixonthesquare.ca 780.420.1757

At the door (cash only)
Adults $19, Students/Seniors $16 plus tax & service charges Group rates available. Call 780.439.3905

I Am For You features Patricia Cerra as Mariam, Samantha Jeffery as Lainie and Jonathan Purvis as student teacher Caddell Morris. Fight Choreography is also provided by Jonathan Purvis. Production design is by Patrick Beagan, with sound design by Dave Clarke. The play is written and directed by Mieko Ouchi

This production is suitable for ages 13 and up.
For more information contact Concrete Theatre at 780-439-3905 or visit www.concretetheatre.ca

November & December Book Draw

Just in time for the LAST book draw of the year, some reads for the under 18s in your life!

To enter the draw, email your name to regionalwir (at) gmail.com, or stick it in the designated boxes at the EPL/St. Albert/Fort Saskatchewan/Strathcona Library. Winner will be announced on December 15th and will have a month to collect the items from the library. If they don’t collect the books by January 15th, the prizes will go to the next name drawn.

PLEASE NOTE: You do NOT have to enter the writing prompt to be entered in the draw. However, those who submit a writing prompt will be automatically entered to win.



The Snow Show
Written and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

Ever wonder how snow is made?
Tune in as Chef Kelvin and the rest of the Snow Show gang
investigate evaporation, condensation, and precipitation –
all while cooking up the crispiest, lightest, fluffiest batch of snow
ever to fall from the sky!

Toby & His Hospital Friends
Written by Charmaine Hammond
Illustrated by Rose Anne Prevec

Toby is a big, brown, happy dog. Every week, his owner, Miss Charmaine takes him to visit and comfort children who are in the hospital. Follow Toby the service dog for a day, and see how he makes friends with the children, helps make them happy and forget that they are sick and away from home. * Beautifully illustrated, Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog teaches young readers the wonders of being of service to others. * A happy story that also sends a positive message about community, as well as the importance of kindness to pets.

Winds of L’Acadie
Written by Lois Donovan

When sixteen-year-old Sarah from Toronto learns that she is to spend the summer with her grandparents in Nova Scotia, she is convinced that it will be the most tedious summer ever. She gets off to a rough start when she meets Luke, the nephew of her grandmother’s friend, and one unfortunate event leads to another. Just when she thinks her summer cannot get much worse, she finds herself transported to Acadia in 1755. Here she meets Anne and learns much about the Acadian culture and history and the Acadians’ relations with the Mi’kmac people. She also experiences the warmth she has always wanted of a closely knit family. When Sarah realizes that the peace-loving Acadians are about to be torn from their homes and banished to distant shores, she is desperate to find a way to help them. Forced to abandon her pampered, stylish lifestyle, Sarah uncovers a strength and determination she did not know she possessed. Although Sarah has to come to terms with the fact that “you can’t change history,” she is willing to risk her life to do everything in her power to help her Acadian family, and finds a surprising ally in Luke. Winds of L’Acadie, a historical novel for readers ten and up, reveals a painful part of Canadian history through the relationship of two young women from different centuries.